The Signs And Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, also known as gastro esophageal reflux disease or GERD, is a condition where foods and or liquids get into the stomach and esophagus by regurgitation. The esophagus is another name for the tube that goes from the mouth to your stomach. This can cause damage and inflammation due to stomach acids. Because it is a chronic condition, the disease is a part of daily life for many suffers.
The body has natural defenses against GERD. Saliva, gravity, and swallowing while in the upright position, helps the symptoms that arise. Because regurgitated liquid tends to flow into the stomach while standing, gravity plays a major part in the role. Saliva contains bicarbonate which neutralizes the acids. The salivary glands produce this substance. By swallowing, refluxed liquid is forced back into the stomach.
Other factors play a role in causing the condition. Pregnancy is one of them. Due to the increased level of hormones, pressure is lowered in the esophageal sphincter. The growing fetus also plays a part by causing pressure to increase in the abdomen. Connective tissue diseases are also the cause for GERD. These weaken the esophageal muscles.
Other than the above being mentioned, there are many factors to the cause of this condition. It simply varies between each individual. Hiatal hernias, esophageal contractions, and the lower esophageal sphincter are some of many. Abnormalities of the lower esophageal sphincter or LES are often the majority of the problem. Smoking and obesity increase the chance of GERD
Common symptoms are heartburn or a burning sensation in the chest. This is increased when lying down, eating, or bending down. Nausea can sometimes be associated after eating. Many notice the condition being worse at night than during the day. Sore throat, coughing, wheezing, food regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing are other symptoms that might be experienced.
Some changes in your diet and lifestyle may prevent the effects of GERD. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, citrus, tomatoes, and spicy foods are all culprits. Avoid these foods and beverages whenever possible. Lifestyle changes include losing weight if you are obese, avoiding tight garments against the waist, reducing stress, and sleeping with your head elevated.
Relief with antacids can be taken and may help. Diarrhea and constipation are side effects from these over the counter products and might occur in some people. They also do not give the individual relief for very long.
There might be certain medications that can worsen the effects of this condition. If this happens, talk with your doctor. Some of the prescription medications include beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, progestin, sedatives for anxiety or insomnia, tricyclic antidepressants which are used for depression, and dopamine active drugs.
There a few tests that might be performed by your doctor when checking for the complication. An Esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD is one of them. This test examines the esophagus for damage. A thin tube with a camera on the end is inserted through the mouth and passes through small intestines and stomach. Barium swallow, esophageal manometry, and monitoring the esophagus are included. A stool sample may be given. This is used to locate any blood that might be due to irritation of the esophagus.
Treatment is available for those who suffer. As with any condition, make sure you talk to your doctor if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms associated with acid reflux. Treatment methods and testing may vary between different doctors and individuals.